Hepatitis E testing first identified this strain of the hepatitis virus in 1955, when an outbreak occurred in India. It most often occurs to people between 15 and 40 years old, though it has been known to infect children. Younger people infected with hepatitis E tend to have fewer symptoms than adults.
Like many types of hepatitis, hepatitis E is most common in developing countries.
Q: How Is Hepatitis E Transmitted?
A: The main route of transmission for hepatitis E is through contact with contaminated water or the feces of someone with the disease. Hepatitis E can also be transmitted through animals that carry the virus, either when humans come into contact with their feces or when humans eat their uncooked meat.
Q: How Is Hepatitis E Treated?
Hepatitis E treatment is not needed in many cases because it is a self-limiting disease. This means that many people who contract the disease are able to fight it off with their immune systems.
A vaccine for hepatitis E has been developed, but health care researchers are still trying to determine whether the vaccine works well enough and cheaply enough to warrant widespread administration.
Q: Who Needs Hepatitis E Testing?
A: Most people in the developed world do not need to worry about hepatitis E testing. However, if a person travels to a developing world and shows symptoms of hepatitis E, a test may be in order.
Q: What Are the Symptoms of Hepatitis E?
A: Those who experience symptoms may find that the disease leaves them too weak to work, interact with others, or go about normal daily activities. Despite the initial difficulties of the disease, mortality rates for Hepatitis E are fairly low (about two percent of cases cause death).
In some situations, hepatitis E can lead to serious liver disease.
Pregnant women who contract hepatitis E, especially during the end of their pregnancy, tend to have a higher mortality risk than the general public. Pregnant women should thus avoid travel to countries where this disease is common.
Q: Is Hepatitis E an STD?
A: While it’s conceivable that hepatitis E could be transmitted sexually, it is not generally considered an STD. Most STD testing clinics do not offer hepatitis E testing, partly because infection rates are so low in the U.S.